with Graham and Nathalie
Argentine Tango is a dance that is surrounded by tradition, from the sort of music that it is generally played at classes and social dances, to the layout of the room used for milongas (tango dance evenings), and even the way you ask people to dance by using the cabeceo (a traditional method of signalling across a crowded dance floor that you would like to dance with someone). Much has been written about the traditional milonga, but a good summary of what it can be like is given in this excellent article on Tango Voice.
But what if you are looking for something a little different? Does there have to be all the tradition? Can you even dance tango to any other types of music?
Tango has been evolving ever since it first appeared on the border region between Argentina and Uraguay in the 19th century, and we believe that it does tango a disservice to assume that its evolution has stopped. Tango can and should be danced to music of all sorts of diferent genres, not just music that has been specially written for tango in 1950s Argentina, or even just modern recreations of traditional tango rhythms. You can dance it to blues, jazz, popular, electronica, metal... whatever you like to listen to. Some people call this 'nuevo tango' but that really refers to a teaching style rather than the music we use. It is far more accurate to call it neotango.
These are our milongas, our evenings to let your hair down and dance to the music you love for the whole evening. There is no class at our Neolongas, just music from the moment we start to the last track of the night. You can see the music we played at a typical Neolonga in November 2019 on our What Did We Play? page.
Unlike traditional Milongas, at our Neolongas we assume that everyone will ask everyone else to dance (not just the men asking women), that people will feel free to dance any style that they like (not just tango if the track works for something else as well), and that there will be a lively social atmosphere. We have a modern high quality sound system and make good use of controllable and adaptive lighting to enhance the music. X-Tango Neolongas are a dancing experience not to be missed.
Much smaller than the Neolongas, the aim of the Practilonga (or Practica) is to provide an environment for practice. That's not to say that you can't just dance if you want to; many people come along just to dance and view them as just scaled-down Neolongas. But unlike at the bigger events we have teachers on hand to provide one-to-one help if you want it, and we reserve an area of the room for practising steps and techniques out of the line of dance.
Unless you have done at least a couple of tango classes you will probably feel a bit out of your depth on the dance floor at a Neolonga. If you want to try something a bit different to the regular class night you may want to start with one of our Practilongas.
But that is down to you. Everyone is always welcome at any of our events regardless of skill or experience, so if you just want to come and watch some tango to see what all the fuss is about, or if you dance another style that works with our music (blues is really popular) then stick your head around the door, introduce yourself and say hello.
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